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Balochistan: The Mismanaged Province

Nazir Ahmed Sajjidi                 

The archeological sites in Mehrgarh indicate that Balochistan belongs to one of the oldest civilizations. Tribalism, which still persists in Balochistan, empowers Sardars and Nawabs to rule over common people. After accession to Pakistan, the successive governments continued the policy of keeping Balochistan backward and this policy contributed in perpetuation of tribalism in the province. In aftermath of one-unit’s abolition in 1970 by General Yahya Khan, Balochistan emerged as fourth province of Pakistan. However, from very outset, Balochistan has been caught up by bad governance and mismanagement.

The socio-economic indicators of development of Balochistan are lowest in the region in spite the fact that Balochistan has a vast area with 347,190 Kilometers which constitutes 43 percent of land of Pakistan with approximately 10 Million population and rich in precious minerals i.e., gas, petroleum, coal, copper, iron, gypsum, limestone, salt, marble, chromites, bauxite, silver, platinum, aluminum, uranium and many other valuable minerals and having 770 Kilometers-long coastline. Nonetheless Balochistan could not be transformed from an agrarian to a well developed industrialized society due to mismanagement and excessive political repression by both federal government and dominant elite in Balochistan. Hence, still it lacks industrial, educational, communication development and modernity

After 7th NFC Award, the annual budget of Balochistan has increased to Rs. 234 billion. In this fiscal year, Rs. 54 billion has been earmarked for annual PSDP and the Federal Government has earmarked Rs. 15 billion in federal PSDP for Balochistan. Nonetheless, Balochistan’s communication, educational, healthcare and other economical infrastructure is absolutely scrappy. Railway track is merely 700 Kilometers in Balochistan. The number of Educational Institutions for such a vast province is just like few drops of rains in a desert. Baloch tribal system has always been retrogressive and Sardars never like the province to develop in terms of education, infrastructure and economically, since if people developed educationally then it will erode the power of Sardars and decline their influence. On the other hand, the present National Party-led government could not do anything to bring province on the track of development and modernity except rhetoric.

National Party-led government has not done anything to bring province on the track of development and modernity, except rhetoric.

The literacy rate could not be improved. According to the survey conducted in this year the literacy rate in Balochistan is 43% and female literacy rate is 25% which is pretty dismal and gloomy. The unemployment volume in Balochistan is one of the highest in Pakistan which has been recorded 33.4% Thereby around 80% people are unemployed in the province. According to a report the access to sanitation in Balochistan is 7% and village electrification is 25%. The Educational Development is measured by considering enrolment ratio but, on the contrary the ratio of Drop outs from schools is higher than enrolment ratio. Due to rising poverty in rural Balochistan parents cannot enroll their children in Schools. The life expectancy has decreased to 57 for male and 56 for women.

Balochistan is located at a significant international trade route and the projects like Rekodiq Copper and Gold Project, Saindak Project, Iran-Pakistan and India gas Pipeline, Turkmenistan-Pakistan gas pipeline, Gwadar Deep-sea Port, China Pakistan Economic Corridor and Kacchi Canal. Moreover Livestock, Fisheries, Mining, agriculture, banking, foreign trade, young manpower and gas and oil explorations have  tremendous potential to boost economical activity in the province and to expedite the pace of Socio-Economic development of Balochistan but, the core issue is the institutional weakness in the province. The institutional weaknesses, corrupt political and administrative culture has impeded the economical development of Balochistan. Cronyism, favoritism, sycophancy and nepotism have destroyed Civil service and state institutions. The politicians feel comfortable with prevailing system as it totally favors their vested interests, these gloomy state of affairs have aggravated the sense of deprivation of Baloch. The present provincial government does not have capacity to utilize these projects to usher a new era in Balochistan. The provincial government has failed to deliver and now it has become one of the most unpopular governments of Balochistan. Successive and present governments have miserably failed to promote industrialization and modernity in Balochistan.

Since 2004 Balochistan has been passing through conflict, violence and insurgency. Poverty, disparity, injustice, unbridled corruption and political repression are main causes of ongoing conflict and if immediate steps are not taken to end poverty, disparity, corruption, bad governance and mismanagement then the trouble and conflict will further escalate in the province.

Sardars and establishment are equally responsible for keeping Balochistan backward.

Both tribal Sardars and establishment are equally responsible for keeping Balochistan backward in every sphere of life. Administratively Balochistan has become ungovernable. Corruption is rampant in every public sector department. Politicians and bureaucracy have made an evil nexus to loot resources of the province for their nasty vested interests at the cost of rising volume of poverty and unemployment in Balochistan. The Civil servants have become the personal servants of political elite. The public management services have declined to such a level that one cannot even imagine. There are several cases of corruption in every Department of Balochistan but, National Accountability Bureau is reluctant to take action against corrupt. There are thousands of ghost employees in every Department of province and many scandals of drawing salaries in the name of these fake employees have come on surface.  The C&W, Revenue, PHE, Levies, Education, Health, Local Government, Agriculture and food are considered the most corrupt departments of Balochistan where numerous corruption scandals have been found yet NAB is miserably failed to take action against corruption scandals involved billions of rupees. Corruption is systematic and well entrenched within the system in Balochistan. Owing to these dismal prevailing circumstances, Balochistan has become ungovernable and chances of social and economical development are very thin.

In view of prevailing circumstances, Judiciary and other organs of state will have to intervene to improve the gloomy administrative and institutional issues and tackle widespread and open corruption within provincial institutions so that conflicts can be sorted out with peace, prosperity and socio-economic development of underprivileged masses of Balochistan.

Published in The Balochistan Point on October 5, 2015

Disclaimer: Views expressed in this article are those of the author and The Balochistan Point not necessarily agrees with them.

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